On Teaching Methods of Chinese Characters in TCFL


校园英语·下旬 2019年5期

【Abstract】In the curriculum of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL), the teaching of Chinese characters is of great importance. Therefore, this paper mainly discusses three methods of Chinese characters teaching, hoping that these teaching methods may help learners grasp Chinese characters well.

【Key words】TCFL; Chinese characters; Teaching methods


Chinese characters are the combinations of graphic forms, sounds and meanings; and they can convey their meanings through their graphic forms. Therefore, great importance should be attached to the teaching of Chinese characters, and some teaching methods should be applied in the curriculum.

1. Chinese characters should be taught at the beginning of the learners learning, together with Chinese Pinyin

Chinese characters are disconnected with Chinese Pinyin, so learning Chinese Pinyin doesnt mean learning Chinese characters. In order to give the learners a direct impression of Chinese characters, teachers should teach Chinese characters along with Chinese Pinyin from the very beginning. If the learners are taught Chinese Pinyin and Chinese characters separately, they will have more difficulties in learning Chinese characters later. Therefore, the teaching of Chinese characters and their sounds cannot be separated, and the two aspects should be taught at the same time from the beginning.

2. Explanations of Chinese characters formations and meanings are of great importance

Almost every Chinese character has its own origin, components and meaning; therefore, to explain the formations and meanings of Chinese characters is very helpful for learners to comprehend them well, especially for those non-single Chinese characters.

Take the Chinese character “滅(miè)” as an example. “灭” is an associative compound of the up-down structure too. The lower part “火(huǒ)” means “fire” in English, because the shape of it is like the burning fire. The upper part is “一”, which doesnt mean “one” here, but means “something that is put above the fire to cover it ”. Therefore, the Chinese character “灭” can be explained as something is put above the fire to make it extinguish. In English, “灭” means putting out the fire.

3. Much attention should be paid to the correct stroke orders of Chinese characters

Moreover, correct stroke orders must be taught to the learners when teachers are teaching Chinese characters and the learners should be asked to repeat practicing writing Chinese characters in correct stroke orders. If teachers dont help the learners form the good writing habits from the very beginning, it will take much more time to correct the learners writing mistakes in the future.

Here is the example of teaching the stroke orders of Chinese character “吃”. The correct stroke orders should be丨, 一, 丿, 一, ?, and make sure that teachers must demonstrate the correct way of writing to the learners.

4. Example of the Comprehensive Teaching Method

Here is an example to illustrate the comprehensive teaching method, which includes the above three teaching methods. When teach the Chinese character “吃(chī)”, which means “eat” in English, teachers should firstly show the complete Chinese character “吃” to the learners. Secondly, teachers should teach Chinese Pinyin of “吃”, that is “chī” ; and ask students to read it in correct sound repeatedly. Thirdly, teachers must explain the structure, components and meaning of “吃”. The Chinese character “吃” is a phonogram of left-right structure. On the left side, it is a “口(kǒu)”, which means “a mouth” in English; and “口” shows that when a person eats, he uses his mouth. On the right side, it is the Chinese character “乞(qǐ)”, which indicates the sound and pronunciation of “chī”. But the sound of “qǐ” and “chī” are not totally same, and teachers should explain their different pronunciation in Chinese Pinyin.  Finally, correct stroke orders should be taught to the learners about “吃”, and the strokes are: 丨,  一, 丿, 一, ?.

The four steps of teaching the Chinese character “吃” are continuous, and the continuous process of teaching could make the learners recognize and understand its sound, graphic form, meaning and stroke orders comprehensively. After explain all the knowledge about “吃”, teachers should ask learners to practice writing it stroke by stroke repeatedly and check whether they write it in correct stroke orders or not. Gradually, the overall  impression of “吃” will be rooted deeply in learners minds.

In TCFL, both Chinese characters teaching and learning are difficult. My suggestions on the teaching may not be the best and most effective ones, but I will integrate those good teaching methods and perfect them in my daily teaching practice.


[1]Huang Borong and Liao Xudong. Modern Chinese Language[M]. Beijing: Higher Education Press,2002,07.


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